If the winter weather gets you pumped for powdery runs and long white trails, or if you’re just a fan of donning the season’s latest snow gear, you won’t be disappointed in Boston. Some of New England’s best ski resorts are just short drives from the city, meaning you can hit the trails and still have time to partake in après-ski activities before the sun goes down.
West of Boston in the Berkshires, Ski Butternut is best known for being reliable when it comes to snow — the real stuff, and thanks to the mountain’s snowmaking system that covers 100 percent of the mountain’s 22 trails. There’s even an eight-lane tubing park, ideal if you spend more time on your bottom than on your skis. The standard lift ticket is $60 for adults and $25 for kids during the holiday season, but packages and season passes are also available. While you’re in the area, stop by Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Blantyre — a little more than 20 minutes away from the ski resort — to warm up with some of the luxury hotel’s famous hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows.
Maine’s largest ski mountain is also one of the most visited come winter. Sugarloaf boasts everything from traditional runs to cross-country trails spanning more than 1,000 acres of powdery land. The views from the summit are legendary, too. Sugarloaf’s peak is 4,237 feet high, making it Maine’s second highest peak and the only lift-serviced above-treeline skiing you’ll find up here. The longest run is 3.5 miles, making après-ski cocktails a well-deserved treat. Make a weekend out of it and check into Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine for some pampering after a day on the slopes. Kennebunkport is just under three hours south of Sugarloaf, and about 90 minutes from Boston, making it a convenient stop before heading back to The Hub.
The legendary White Mountains in New Hampshire are a favorite among Bostonians, not just for the extensive runs and trails, but because most out-of-towners don’t think about skiing in New Hampshire. Head to the mountains — about two-and-a-half hours north of Boston — and enjoy everything from black-diamond runs to outlet shopping (Settlers’ Green Outlet Village, among others) and cozy pubs. This is also where you’ll find nearby Bretton Woods, New Hampshire’s largest ski area and home to the Omni Mount Washington Hotel, the focal point of the Mount Washington Resort. Bretton Woods, celebrating its 40th year for the 2013/2014 ski season, features 10 lifts servicing 102 trails and glades plus one of the most breathtaking views from atop a mountain, thanks to its 1,500-foot vertical drop. Don’t worry if the weather seems to be a little warmer than usual, though. The resort has snowmaking pumps and guns, ensuring all the trails are primed and ready for ski season.
Photo Courtesy of Sugarloaf and Ethan Austin